On this day in 1986: Hearts broken at Dens

Dundee's Albert Kidd wheels away after scoring on the last league day of 1985/86.
Dundee's Albert Kidd wheels away after scoring on the last league day of 1985/86.
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1986 is a memorable year for many reasons, Microsoft went public, Phantom of the Opera debuted and Top Gun hit the big screens.

For many though, 1986 will always be remembered for two goals scored by a Dundee substitute, Albert Kidd, in a day that is one of the most dramatic in Scottish football history.

Had it not been for Kidd’s performance that day, the 1985-86 league title would almost certainly have been won by a Hearts team that consisted of the likes of Sandy Jardine, Gary Mackay, and John Robertson.

Managed by Alex MacDonald, the Tynecastle side were two points clear of Davie Hay’s Celtic going into the final league match, knowing that the 2 points awarded for a win or even a point for a draw would secure them their first title since 1960.

Thousands cheered on the Gorgie side who, before going to Dens, had not been defeated in 27 outings.

Celtic needed to hope that Hearts lost while they outscored St Mirren at Love Street.

By half time in Paisley, Celtic were 4-0 up but the league would still be heading to the Capital with the 0-0 scoreline at Dens Park.

Indeed, that was the case in the 61st minute when Dundee made a substitution, and the rest as they say is history.

Albert Kidd scored from close range eight minutes from time before scoring a second following a run from the halfway line, ending Hearts title hopes.

On Reflection

The historic moment in Scottish football is still widely discussed.

Looking back on the game and the series of events, Hearts midfielder Kenny Black said: ‘’I’ve never experienced anything like it.

“There’s no words you can use to express the feeling. Distraught is about the best description I can give. It was the lowest point in my career.

‘”I remember the supporters on the pitch and seeing them in their buses going down the road afterwards and just feeling that we’d let them down. But they were tremendous.”

Speaking about the game, Albert Kidd told the BBC :” You have to remember we had something to play for too.

“We were going for European qualification. However, we didn’t get it because Rangers beat Motherwell to beat us to it.

“We met the Hearts players in the players’ lounge after the match and we really felt for them. It was so sad. ‘’

Celtic, who won the league following the results on May 3 1986 celebrated with one bottle of champagne that according to Murdo Macleod a kit man had packed. No one else in the Celtic team/staff had thought that Hearts would be crowned that day.

Folklore

While Albert Kidd broke hearts on May 3 1986, his two famous goals have went down in folklore. The Dundonian, who now lives in Australia was invited to a Hibs supporters event in Sydney ten years after the match, and was named their player of the year.

While Hibs fans celebrate the result as Kidd helped sink the title hopes of their Edinburgh rivals, Kidd’s two goals are also fondly remembered by Celtic fans.

Billy Connolly met Kidd in Adelaide and even invited him backstage at one of his shows once he realised who he was talking to.